UF’s Crawford throws no-hitter in 2012 NCAAs
Former UF pitcher Jonathon Crawford evolved from a seldom-used freshman in 2011 to a first-round draft pick two years later.
In between, Crawford experienced one of the most magical days on the mound by a Gator.
On June 2, 2012, Crawford drew the starting assignment for the top-seeded Gators’ NCAA Tournament opener against Bethune-Cookman. The sophomore right-hander from Okeechobee made his NCAA debut one to remember by tossing a no-hitter.
“It was a great night by Jonathon,” coach Kevin O’Sullivan told the school’s website after UF’s 4-0 win. “Bethune is always a very good team. We needed a special outing by Jonathon. I am very proud of Jonathon, but also very proud of our team.”
Crawford struck out five and walked just one batter on 98 pitches to become the first UF pitcher to throw a no-hitter since John Burke against Furman in 1991 and just the second in school history.
Crawford pitched just 32⁄3 innings the previous season as a freshman and was left off the traveling roster to the 2011 College World Series, where the Gators finished runners-up to South Carolina.
A year later, Crawford posted a 6-2 record with a 3.19 earned-run average and 73 strikeouts in 772⁄3 innings. He failed to build on his breakout performance in 2013, though, finishing 3-6 with a 3.84 ERA.
The Detroit Tigers still saw enough potential to select the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Crawford with the 20th pick in the 2013 draft, reportedly inking him to a $2 million signing bonus.
Traded in December of 2014 to the Cincinnati Reds, Crawford soon was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that took the zip out of his 97 mph fastball.
Now 28, Crawford currently is a free agent following several stops at the lower ranks of the game, including a 2017 assignment with the Class A Daytona Tortugas.
“I can’t really choose the hand I’m dealt necessarily,” Crawford told the Orlando Sentinel that spring. “I tried to take [the injury] and learn from it a little bit. I try to use it to make me a better player.”
Wherever Crawford’s career ends up, though, few have been better than him eight years ago today for the Gators. Five UF pitchers have been selected during the first round of the draft since 2013, but none threw a no-hitter while in Gainesville.
With sports suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, the Orlando Sentinel staff will highlight great moments in local sports history each day until our teams resume play. If you want to suggest a milestone worth celebrating at the high school, college or pro level, email email@example.com.
UF sophomore Jonathon Crawford pitches against Bethune-Cookman during the ninth inning of a no-hitter in the 2012 NCAA Regionals in Gainesville.